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New Report about BPA in Canned Goods: No Silver Lining

05.25.10 New Report about BPA in Canned Goods: No Silver Lining

You've heard of BPA, and probably have a stainless steel water bottle, or BPA free versions for you and your family.  If not, you can get many snazzy ones here at MightyNest.  But how about canned foods?  We know there is BPA in most cans, but how much?  And as much as we try to eliminate canned goods from a healthy diet, this is no easy task for busy working families.

A new study released recently tested the level of BPA in canned foods, and it contains several important findings.  This has been done before, back in 1996, and the amounts of BPA in canned food has increased significantly since then.  In fact, many of the foods had up to 5 times the amounts found back in 1996.  Of the 50 cans that were tested in the study, 46 were found to contain significant amounts of BPA.  There was no difference in brands, the states they came from, the amount of time they were in the pantry, or type of food they contained.  Even the same brands, with different batches, yielded different BPA levels.  

What this study did that was unique was to examine a diet of a typical American and their consumption of canned foods over the course of a day.  Then, they totaled the amount of BPA that person consumed in one day.  In all cases, the amount consumed was the same amounts where scientists have seen negative health affects on animals in the lab.  These people were not eating lots of canned foods per say, either.  Here is one example from the report:

"BPA exposure is particularly of concern for pregnant women, for babies, and for children. Other reports have focused on BPA leaching from baby bottles and polycarbonate containers, so for this study we imagined a pregnant woman in her 20s, of average build (71 kg or 156.5 lbs14) as the individual eating the meals we put together from different products tested. We found that, just from eating the foods below, she could easily raise her BPA intake to levels known to cause health problems in animals (see detailed summary on page 10). For example:

• By eating a serving of canned peaches with breakfast, a can of ravioli for lunch, having a snack of a can of chicken noodle soup, chili for dinner, and using coconut milk in a dessert she could ingest 75.4 μg, or 1.06 μg/kg body- weight of BPA;

• By eating a serving of canned peaches with breakfast, a can of lentil soup for lunch, and making tuna casserole with canned tuna, peas, cream of mushroom soup and vegetable broth for dinner, followed by bananas in canned coconut milk for dessert, a woman could ingest 87.28 μg, or 1.23 μg/kg bodyweight of BPA through canned foods alone; and 

• By eating no canned goods in the morning and after- noon, and just one can of soda and a single serving of green beans at dinnertime, a woman could ingest 138.19 μg, or 1.95 μg/kg bodyweight of BPA.

After reading this, and the report, I don't feel so good about my small, but still significant use of canned goods.  I buy mostly canned black beans, usually from Eden foods (which are BPA free).  But sometimes my husband buys the wrong brand, or we use refried beans instead.  When I consider the canned goods in my food at school, the BPA in receipts, soda cans, and dental sealants, I worry that the constant low level exposure to this chemical could cause harm to me and my familiy, and to all American families. 

Thankfully, this report offers legislative recommendations-- such as a federal ban of BPA, passing the Safe Chemicals Act, and demanding safer canned goods.  Now we just need our leaders to make this happen as soon as possible to protect our children from this toxic chemical.  


Posted in: BPA
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